Top Reads For The Email Marketer

After spending the last three weeks at a client summit, on vacation and recovering from both, I found I had a lot of reading time and experienced a general "deafening" to what's been happening in our space. This is a nice change, since normally I am so deeply entrenched in my beloved world of email and eCRM that I have difficulty getting an outside perspective to help freshen my thoughts and approach.

Here are some good reads from my vault.

Marketing to Women: How to Understand, Reach, and Increase Your Share of the World's Largest Market Segment by Marti Barletta. Tom Peters spoke at our recent customer conference, and as usual, he brought controversy to the table. (If you aren't plugged into his a href="">blog, you probably should be.) What made his speech so fascinating is his belief that we, as marketers, are missing the boat by not focusing our marketing on the boomer generation and women. These two segments own the purse strings -- in fact, collectively they own the largest portion of wealth in our society.



Barletta's book focuses on the potential in marketing to women. The questions I asked myself after reading it were: Are women, and specifically boomer women, managing their digital lives in a dramatically different manner than the younger multiplexing consumers who are entering the markets? How do women respond to email? Should we be tracking them separately? Marketing to Women is a stimulating read that has huge implications for our business, if its assertions (and those of Tom Peters') are correct.

Love is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends by Tim Sanders, the former director of Yahoo's in-house think tank. (Incidentally, this book provides great references to other must-reads.) Sanders' premise is that the days of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" are changing. The new approach to building sustainable, valuable and long-term relationships in your business or personal life is to learn as much as you can and share your knowledge with as many people as possible. Your passion and willingness to share will be the glue that binds your networks.

I hope many of you will read this book. Information isn't about promoting our businesses, it's about stimulating new lines of thinking that improve and expand advertising by (say) bridging email to eCRM, email to customer relationship marketing, email to consumer experiences and marketing. We just can't stop learning. Many of the articles I read in the email channel today are the same topics and answers from 2001-2003, restated. There are many new people in the space who need this baseline information, yet we must challenge ourselves to build on what we know and then share it.

Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking by Andy Sernovitz. This book does a great job of evangelizing the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA). I often think the power of word of mouth marketing is misunderstood on the digital side. The book is structured well for readers who haven't put much time into understanding this art, and is a must-read for people new to email marketing. You'll learn what word of mouth is; about the tools available -- blogs, RSS, viral email, and buzz -- which most of us are just beginning to understand; and how to use them. You'll also gain in understanding the influence the email channel has on this effect.

" * * " Books can inspire us, if we slow down enough to clear our minds. I find that in a given day I struggle to consume what we are learning with our clients, to transfer that knowledge to my teams, and then to consume the plethora of content from the industry, which I know will enrich my view of advertising in general. It starts one book at a time.

Let me know what books inspire you and how they can help us in our everyday challenges enriching the email channel.

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